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XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (Apr 17 – 24)

Posted by wicked April - 25 - 2015 - Saturday Comments Off

xdaappsoftheweek

Apps are at the front and center of any smartphone experience, and with over a million apps on the Google Play Store and new apps being submitted to our forums every day, staying up to date on the latest apps and games can be a hassle. At XDA, we don’t discriminate apps – if it’s interesting, innovative, original or useful, we mention them. The XDA Portal Team loves apps too, and we usually share and discuss the latest app releases at our virtual office.  Here we present to you some of our favorite apps of this week, take a look!

 

Iris – Walk While Using Any App [BETA]

irisFirst up is Iris by XDA Junior Member nyomidev. This app is currently in beta, but we gave it a try and it worked very well. The concept is simple: Iris puts a transparent overlay of your camera on top of everything on your phone, and you can modify the opacity to your liking. The idea of using it while walking might sound gimmicky, but the apps works wonderfully well with surprisingly smooth camera action. It’s obviously not the most battery-friendly app out there, but the concept and its execution make for a rather surreal effect that is worth experiencing, even if just once!

SMSmart – Access Apps Via SMS [FREE]

smsOut of data? This application brings back to life a tried and true method of pretend-internet through SMS, and while text messages might not be the best way of getting Google Search results anymore, doing so without using up precious bytes can be a life (or pocket) saver. With this app, you can tweet and read your twitter feed “offline”, do internet searches, read news, find restaurants and even get directions in case you are lost. The app re-structures the information in a tidy interface to make it much easier to read, too, so on the front it functions just like a regular app.

Mortal Kombat X [FREE/IAP]

mkxMany of us grew up playing this game at arcade machines, but now you can get the visceral fighting action right on your smartphone. The game is free with in-app purchases (sadly), but it is still fun enough for those that simply want to blow some steam or check out the remastered fatalities on your 1440p panels. The game features online multiplayer for groups of up to 3 players, and given it is a new game, it has a lot of room to grow and improve. The graphics are phenomenal, but keep in mind the requirements are higher than those of an average game, that it has a “High Maturity” rating and that it is only available in select regions for now.

Glimpse Notifications – Saves You a Button Press! [FREE]

glimpsesXDA Senior Member xrad has a quality-of-life application that will make your notification-checking process more efficient than ever: with this app, you no longer need to press the power button to check your lockscreen notifications. This app lights up your screen with incoming notifications, showing you the contents right on your lockscreen, but it also recognizes when it is facing down or in your pocket to avoid wasting battery. And if that’s not enough, the app has an unpocketing mode that lights up your screen as you take your phone out of you pocket. The best part? No special permissions, no ads and completely free! You can read more about this app here.

Collateral – Notes at Notifications Panel [FREE]

collThis is a simple productivity app with a beautiful interface that allows you to create notes and lists that reside in your notification area. You can use these for reminders, important notes you shouldn’t forget about or to-do lists. Like many productivity apps, this is what you make of it, and given that the notification panel is available throughout the entire OS, there are endless ways to make it handy. The main app features over 300 icons to choose from as well as DashClock extensions, and there is more in the premium version if you are willing to pay. If you love material apps, though, you’ll certainly love this app’s look.

Notable Updates:

  • Google Keep was updated to easily browse notes on your wrist through your Android Wear watch, which goes along perfectly with the voice command integration of the platform. You also get the ability to add reminders to your notes directly from Wear, including recurring reminders. Finally, the Android app itself now allows you to add labels to notes to stay organized.
  • Action Launcher 3.4 is out, bringing a plethora of new additions and improvements such as an improved widget picker, a more customizable All Apps grid, vertical scrolling All Apps and widget lists, font configuration and more. You can read the full change log here.
  • DashClock Widget is perhaps one of the most popular widget apps out there, featuring stylish clocks with a huge number of extensions that add all sorts of data glimpses and functions. The application’s UI was lacking a refresh, though, and in the DashClock Widget 1.7 Beta 1 release you’ll find a Material Design interface that brings the app up to speed.

That is it for this week. We hope that you might have found some of these apps as interesting, useful or entertaining as we did. Whether you are a student, a developer, a designer or a gamer, Android has you covered. We will try to reflect that each week with a variety of picks to spark your interest, and if you see (or publish!) any new apps that you think are worthy of a feature, be sure to send us a tip and we’ll give it a look. Until next time!

 

The post XDA Picks: Best Apps of the Week (Apr 17 – 24) appeared first on xda-developers.

The Devices Behind The XDA Team

Posted by wicked April - 22 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

XDA devices

In a recent episode of XDA TV, TK explained which phone he uses and what he was running on it, but what about the rest of the news team? XDA has an incredibly diverse team from many walks of life and locations, so here we will explore just how that is reflected in our chosen devices. Each member of the team was asked a few simple questions: Which devices do you use, what software are you running, their reasons for choosing them, what devices they would be buying next and what has been their favorite device? Their answers may surprise you.

Mathew Brack

My daily device is a Xiaomi Mi Note Bamboo edition running MIUI 6 (but if anyone is working on a CM or TWRP build for it, drop me a message). I also have my faithful Galaxy Note 2 running CM11, Paranoid Android and MIUI 6 on multiROM which now is being mainly used as a FTP server and NFC Tag writer for my implant as the Mi Note lacks NFC. I love the look and feel of the Mi note, it runs really well and whilst understandably not having a huge development backing, spending even a short while with it reminds of the feeling I had when I got my N7100. I also have a Nexus 7 for personal use and a Galaxy Tab 4 for my work with drones at my university, both of which are running stock. As far as wearables go, I only own a Xiaomi Mi band which I love for the month-long battery life, aided by a modified Mi Fit app. As for my next purchase, I’ll be buying project Ara as soon as I can and possibly the next Nexus depending on manufacturer and specs. My favourite phone to date has to be the Note 2, that phone has taken so much abuse, has a legendary developer backing and has come out all the better for it. Although the T-Mobile G1 (HTC Dream) will always have a special place in my heart, that slide out keyboard was a nightmare to use with in retrospect and boot up time was horrific but back then it seemed like the perfect device.

Emil Kako

I went from using the HTC One M7, to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, to finally settling on the OnePlus One (no pun intended). I found the form factor and screen size of the OnePlus One to be the most ideal for me personally. While the Note 3 before it had great battery life, I have yet to use any device with battery life as good as the OnePlus One. As far as ROMs go, I gave OxygenOS a trial run for a few days, but it’s just too early in development and lacks too many features in comparison to CM. I’m currently running Cyanogen 12 S and don’t have many complaints.

My next Android device will most likely be between the OnePlus Two and LG G4. Although OnePlus has made some questionable choices this year, their first flagship has been one hell of a phone, and I’m expecting its successor to be just as impressive. The G4 also seems to be quite the device, based on the recent leaks and rumors. If the camera on it is really as good as it is being hyped to be, it will be hard for me to stay away from it.

I don’t really have a favorite phone to date, but I have to admit that I hold a bit of sentiment to my first smartphone ever, the Blackberry Bold 9000. It was magnificent at the time, and was my first introduction to the world of smartphones. It’s been quite the ride ever since.

Jeremy Meiss (Jerdog)

I use: Moto X 2014 (stock 5.1); Xperia Z3 (stock 5.0.2); Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact (stock 5.0.2); Nexus 9 (stock 5.0.1);  Nexus 5 (Omni 5.1) and an LG G Watch.

I like to pick devices that are as close to stock Android as possible, and then utilize ROMs (if needed) which amplify that if I need to go a custom ROM route, I rarely use something that is based on stock because in many cases (with rare exception) those “enhancements” end up being snake oil. So if I go a custom ROM route, it’s going to be something solid and built from source by reputable developers;

With my job (both for XDA and Fastboot Mobile), I come in contact with a lot of different devices across a lot of different markets from a lot of different manufacturers – and so these are the ones I like the most (so far). That being said – I am interested to see what the next Nexus device is, if Google goes back and does a Nexus 5 2015. I am also very interested in the LG G Flex 2 and G4. And as always, I am interested in seeing what Sony deploys with the Z4. Samsung and HTC just haven’t done anything for me in a while, so I don’t have any plans for a device from one of them. My favorite device? That’s like asking me “What is your favorite movie?” because for me you can’t boil it down to one – there are categories for a reason. But, my favorite phone to date would probably be either the Nexus 5 for its OS versatility, or the Z3 for the battery life and power, and my favorite tablet would have to be the Asus Transformer (original) for its trans-desktop abilities.

Tomek Kondrat

I use a OnePlus One with various ROMs. Mostly Omni and SlimSaber, but I’m giving a try to CM12S as of late. Omni is very clear and doesn’t use CAF hybrid while SlimSaber is one of the most complete and bug-free ROMs I have ever used. My next purchase? Tricky question. It’ll Probably be the next Nexus. My favorite device so far… all were great. The best phone I’ve ever owned was probably the Nexus 4. No bugs at all. But I have extreme sentiment to my old Xperia X8 which got me on XDA.

Mario Serrafero

My current daily driver is a white Galaxy Note 4 (SM-N910T) covered in wood-themed DBrand skins. My second carry is a silver Moto 360 with a cognac band, which has just recently replaced my Gear Live. I also have a Note 3 (SM-N900) lying around, and back in my country there’s a Galaxy S3 (GT-I9300) and Nexus 5 awaiting my arrival – both lent out to my parents. Sick of waiting for T-Mobile, I flashed the Canadian BOC4 firmware to my Note 4, as the Canadian variant (N910W8) has the exact same hardware as the T-Mobile Note 4. I also dualboot CyanogenMod 12.1 Nightlies on the side, and switch around to get what I consider “the best of both worlds”. My Moto 360 runs stock Wear without many apps in the way, but a healthy amount of watchfaces. I actually like some of TouchWiz, and since the Note 3 brought pen-window and better stylus integration, the Note series has carried what I consider the most productive Android ROM you can get. With the recent optimizations and sheer hardware of the Note series, I have no performance issues (other than a slight recents menu delay which has dramatically diminished on Lollipop). The appearance of TouchWiz is still an issue to me, which is why I typically flash themes to remedy that. The Note 4’s multi-window is, hands down, the best multitasking implementation in a mobile OS. It completely changes the way I approach the virtual space and navigation within it, and it is just one of the indispensable productivity features I depend on.

The Note 4’s hardware is outstanding in every sense, but I could have stayed with my Note 3. Sadly, my version didn’t include 4G LTE which I came to love in America. The camera, battery life and screen (oh, the screen!) are all the best I’ve had and some of the best out there, and I bought the thing on a $150 discount to boot. I run CyanogenMod 12.1 on the side to still re-visit the zippy beauty of Material Design, but I spend most of my time on TouchWiz 5.0.2. As far as my Moto 360 goes, I picked it up during the Best Buy discount craze (for those unfamiliar, you could get one for as little as $50 if you played it smart). I love it to death and the band and design match with most of my wardrobe as well as my wood-backed phone. No regrets!

Despite my affinity for Note phones, I don’t quite consider myself “loyal” to Samsung. With rumors saying that LG will eventually bring a Stylus, and the sure-coming of multi-window to Stock Android, chances are I might step out of the Note line I am so accustomed to. And if those (and a few other) conditions are met as the Note 5 also does not bring back the microSD slot nor the removable battery… then I’ll migrate for sure. The Blackberry Curve 8310 is my favorite device, but for special reasons: it brought me into the mobile fandom by blowing my mind with amazing web-browsing capabilities… for the time, anyway. I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for that fellow. As far as actual hardware and UX go, I would say my current Note 4. There’s nothing I would change

GermainZ

I’m currently using an S4 with TouchWiz. I’d ideally run Omni but TouchWiz has the best battery life, camera and audio quality right now. I’ve only tried the Ace i, S3, S4 and S5 though I haven’t owned all of these. My favorite among these is the S4 or S5. My favorite fictional phone would have an AMOLED screen like Samsung/Moto phones, a battery like the Elephone P5000, and great dev support like Nexus devices

Chris Gilliam

My daily driver is a Nexus 6, and it’s running stock, rooted, & unencrypted Android 5.1. That said, tweaking custom ROMs and kernels is half the fun of owning a developer phone, so I don’t expect it to stay this pristine for long. The rooted and decrypted state are products of my desire for Greenify/Tasker/Xposed, and for a faster opening Google Camera; encryption kills NAND read/write speed, and slows the shutter.

As for my choice of phone, life with Verizon’s bootloader locking shenanigans and high plan prices taught me to value open systems. This handset can follow me to any carrier on the continent, and should stay a viable piece of hardware and software for years to come thanks to its specs, Google backing, and popularity here on the forums – a truly flexible and future-proof device. Beyond that, I wanted something with a top-notch camera. The outstanding sensor and Camera2 API support on this phone certainly fit the bill, and only the Galaxy S6 (unannounced when I purchased) can rival some of the things I can do with a DNG and manual focus.

The Nexus isn’t my only smart-device, though. In an unexpected and recent turn of events, it’s now flanked by two wearables – a Moto 360 and a Xiaomi Mi Band. Both were purchased far below their list prices, which is how they came to be in my possession, but I still believe the smartatch market lacks the advanced sensors that will bring quantified self tracking to the masses. Show me a two-day battery, mature blood glucose sensor (for real-time calorie intake), and Android Wear, and then we’ll talk. Until then, I’m hoping to be proven wrong with existing tech. The Mi Band and its unofficially tweaked app are off to a good start with notifications and Smart Unlock, and the 360 has proven its worth at parties where stealing a glance at the forecast via watch is easier than using a more noticeable phone, but only time will tell.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase with these purchases, so thoughts of my next devices aren’t yet fully formed. However, the Ara’s interchangeable modules, and the truly open HTML5-based ecosystems of Ubuntu OS and Firefox OS definitely have my attention. Wearables remain a “wait-and-see.”

My favorite phone to date is Samsung’s US variants of the Galaxy S3, circa 2012. At the time, they were the most revolutionary pieces of hardware and software anyone had seen, and I might still be using mine today with a microSD and Zero Lemon battery if it was a hair easier to mod and Verizon had made it worth my while to keep paying the data premiums. The S3 packs NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, an HD AMOLED display with a respectable 306 PPI (only a few shy of the iPhone 6, and well above the threshold most human eyes can detect), and the removable battery & microSD card slot to which I earlier alluded. Slap on Lollipop, and it’s actually better than many mid-range phones today, three years later.

Mike McCrary

I use an AT&T Galaxy Note 3 running stock Lollipop 5.0, an Apple iPad Air 2 WiFi on iOS 8.3 and a SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip with Rockbox custom firmware. I chose the Note 3 for the awesome screen, great pen features and long battery life. The iPad Air 2 for Music Production workhorse, the external Logic controller, and it’s a tablet to lounge around the house with. SanDisk Sansa has Superior DAC, long battery life, plays FLACs loaded onto SD card effortlessly, ton of EQ/Sound settings and it’s small and pocketable. My next phone upgrade is in December so my options are open, however I’m looking more into Android Wear devices at the moment. My favourite device is hands down the Note 3. It’s the best phone I’ve ever owned.

Aamir Siddiqui

I currently use a HTC Desire S. It’s a donated device I received from an XDA Member 2 years ago, and it was an upgrade over my previous device at that stage. Even though the phone is roughly 5 years old, it still performs like a champ in considering the age of its hardware. I did have to chew through a couple of batteries to get this far, because Overclocking takes its hit on the battery.

For my daily use, I use an older build of CM10.1 compiled by Senior Member blindndumb. The OS isn’t the most up to date, but after a lot of experimentation and fiddling around, I found this ROM build to be perfect for my usage pattern. For experimentation and playing around, I tend to flash CM12.1 (yes, you read that right)  by XDA senior member kylon. They are pretty good to get a feel of how the OS has progressed and how it performs on older hardware. As for my next purchase I was just waiting on the OnePlus announcement to see if they would announce something worth waiting for. Looks like I’m getting a OnePlus One within a few days.

Faiz Malkani

I use a Nexus 4, Nexus 9, Nvidia Shield, Moto G and LG G Watch. They are all stock and rooted. The look of the devices influences my choice a lot. Up next for me is the OnePlus Two and my favorite phone to date is the OnePlus One.

As you can see whilst many of us share an interest in particular phones, we have vastly different experiences from them. With the industry changing rapidly, several years from now we could see a complete change in these devices, OEMs and preferences.

Were these answers as you would expect? What are your answers to the questions? Leave a comment below!

The post The Devices Behind The XDA Team appeared first on xda-developers.

Material [Re]design

Posted by wicked April - 8 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Material Design

With Material Design seeing increasingly widespread adoption, it is clear the environment is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As such, we are seeing developers and users a like voicing their opinions on the new style frequently, but how does the community as a whole view MD? We recently asked you whether you preferred Material Design or Holo. The results clearly showed a rift between the two camps with many of you liking the concept of MD but yearned for the darkness offered by Holo. App developers have been seen to be more positive of the new style as it has brought a potential end to fragmentation between user experiences, we also spoke with several developers here at XDA that have implemented MD in their apps. There is a sense of optimism about the changes and how they will affect the future of their apps.

You The Community

The question we asked was a simple one “Do you prefer the new Material Design implemented in Android, or the previous HOLO?” and we saw many excellent points in favour of both. Here are just a few of the responses we thought best answered the debate.

gaspernemec – “Material ALL the way, I mean android finally got rid of that boring greyish/black design and went to something modern more colorful in mix with white design, plus some pretty awesome animations. It’s better design from every point of view.”

meyerweb – “Holo, without question. MD is too bright, too gaudy, and the color combinations must have been chosen by someone who is color blind. And all the animations are cute for the first week, then they’re just tiresome and make the UI slower.”

iks8 – “I love material but it’s pretty heavy and app design is very inconsistent right now. Even google apps have different style (for example some apps has side menu overlapping status bar and some haven’t)”

vyis – “Definitely holo. Material design is work of an artist, looks over function.”

Chilly Hellion – “I vote Material Design. When Holo came out, I remember thinking that it really worked for Android and it was a good design for mobile. But when Material Design came out I thought about how much I’d like to see the design implemented on other platforms as well. Holo is great, but Google really knocked it out of the park with Material Design.”

neonixxx  - “I like flat graphics, but I don’t think *everything* has the be flattened. The glowing overscroll effect from KitKat was definitely a more pleasing effect. Although, this is such a minor thing anyway; it doesn’t bother me too much.”

Development is at the heart of our community, it is likely that with an increased uptake from app developers we will also see a positive increase in our micro-societal perceptions of the platform. Most of us will have noticed the new sense of consistency between applications and surely that can only be a good thing. With that in mind we reached out to several of apps developers here to find out how they felt and what they have in store for the designs of their apps.

Andrognito 2

“Material Design is the biggest design overhaul to come to Android, and it’s amazing in every way. It’s bold, beautiful, elegant and simple. We now have a design language to follow and create consistent experience for the users. MD is heavily inspired from our real world objects and their behaviour and that is what makes it even better. Personally, as a developer and an avid Android user, I liked almost everything about Android except its UI pre-Lollipop. But now I am absolutely amazed with its beauty, simplicity and elegance.

Currently, I have lots of new features like Pattern Lock, Stealth Camera, native photo and video viewer, etc to add to Andrognito. But specifically in terms of design, I would love to give more customizability to the users like a full-fledged Theme Manager in-built in the app. Users can change the themes, colors, fonts and much more. Mostly, we have received positive reviews on the Dark UI of the app, but we would also like to bring a Light version on user demand. We are also looking forward to add more Material-inspired animations everywhere in the app.”

Smart Unlock

“I think Material Design is a step forward in the right direction. Finally Android has the look and feel that it deserves. You can create very intuitive applications, beautiful and with pleasant animations. We will not change much with the design as we are happy with it and most users seems to like it too. We will likely add an intro tutorial on the first app run, with some slides similar to how Google does on most of their apps, showing how to use the app (despite it not being necessary for most of the users) Many users have also requested a toggle to switch to a “dark” theme version of Smart Unlock, we may consider it for future addition.”

Hi Locker

“I liked MD from the first time I saw it. It’s beautiful, smooth but modern. MD create a standard that enables applications to be homogeneous, so the user will feel easy when using different apps. MD has created a balance on the UI between iOS and Android than before. Currently, I have applied MD for my apps and for the future as well. But I will try to create the difference in my design style than the other apps.”

Corgi

“I think Material Design is just revolutionary, it makes so much sense. Mainly, in my opinion, it solves 2 very important problems. Firstly, it helps developers, who might not have so many design skills, to create beautiful apps just by following the guidelines. This let’s developers spend more time on crafting ideas instead of designing them. Secondly, it helps to keep the Android UX aligned and in my opinion it is very important. From my personal experience, using Material Design apps is just awesome, everything feels so intuitive and easy to understand. Once you learn how one app works, all the others are easy, since they are quite the same. In a couple of years, we might get bored of the bold colors and the material design “layers concept” but I’m pretty sure we will get addicted to the unified design all over the OS and its 3rd party apps. This is the future!

For sure we are going to keep up the Material Design, but we are going to tweak the apps experience. Some of the things we implemented like the “+” button containing shortcuts, might not be as useful as we’ve expected. But mainly these are the small things. One big thing we are going to implement is the list view, the type that Feedly has, showing multiple articles on a page. Another thing, is that the settings menu is still quite empty, we will be implementing new options there, that will let user tweak the design themselves. Lastly, we will be adding notifications to the lock screen, something all of our Lollipop users are demanding. Overall, we have a lot of ideas and concepts in our head both for Corgi and other apps but the main thing we are aiming for is to design new ways of how we consume content.”

With less than a year having passed since its unveiling at last years I/O, Material Design is still very much in its infancy. Love it or hate it, the new style benefits us in ways other than aesthetics, providing simple guidelines for new potential developers it could become a keystone to Android over the coming years.

Do you feel Material Design should be applied to an app you use? Leave a comment below

The post Material [Re]design appeared first on xda-developers.

Google to Acquire XDA, Dev Rewards & Policy Changes

Posted by wicked April - 1 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 6.06.16 PM

We are delighted to announce that starting on April 20th, a finalized deal with Google will make XDA Developers a software development division for the beloved search giant. This exciting transition will start as early as next week, where new XDA Talent Scouts from Google will browse our forums and reward the best contributors and offer them software development or design positions as well. A new set of XDA Forum Moderators from Google’s Legal Department will also make sure that the new policies that arise from the acquisition are met.

Why XDA, and why now?

As you might have heard, Cyanogen Inc has recently been scaling up their campaign against Google – and we all recognize that this will be no good for the future of Android. At XDA, we also recognize the fame that CyanogenMod versions have amassed in our community, and we are partnering with Google to offer lovers and contributors of CyanogenMod an even better solution. CyanogenMod volunteer maintainers and contributors will also see a lot of love from both XDA as Google, for the upcoming changes in AOSP will give XDA a privilege no other site will have.

Starting next fall, all custom ROM and kernel development on XDA will be commissioned** by Google. Application development can go on as usual. Some contributions and discussions regarding root methods will still be hosted, but the threads can be closed at a moment’s notice once Google can tighten up security through the findings. Changing our stance on custom ROMs might sound unlike the spirit of XDA, but as you may know we thrive on Android – which means development will not cease. XDA and Google are beginning to revamp the forums to provide a means to offer contributions, applications, changes, and ultimately new code and resources directly to Google for them to review and – if you are lucky – implement into their future Android releases.

How does this benefit Android?

First of all, XDA will receive Android updates and AOSP sources before anyone else!* By having our loyal developers upload their work directly to Google, the company will have the ability to have a clean look at all of their work and decide which bits are worthy of future Android updates. The contributing developers may be rewarded accordingly**, which should encourage any volunteer maintainer to support Google instead of Cyanogen.

How does it work for us developers?

Simple! If you are an XDA developer, things will work exactly the same except for the fact that your contributions must be uploaded to Google servers and will not be available for download in your thread. We encourage you to treat the rest of the system exactly like you have before: you can have your thread banner, introduction, feature lists, changelogs, and important information.

How will other users get access to my contributions?

They will not, and our new policies are strict about that. You could even be fined if you repeatedly violate the new rules, so we don’t suggest doing so. We encourage you to read our updated Terms of Service once they are available. On the bright side, bug complaints from angry XDA members will no longer be a problem, which will ultimately be a benefit that will save you a lot of time and stress.

I am a user, how does this affect me?

Like we said earlier, all application development in XDA will go on as usual. The few aspects of the site that will be affected by the acquisition are those regarding certain root methods, custom ROMs, low-level mods, cosmetic mods, themes, custom kernels, Xposed, Xposed modules, unmonitored Android hacking, threads asking how to unbrick phones, anything related to CyanogenMod and any comment that speaks positively of Cyanogen Inc. You will still be able to go on XDA to discuss the latest custom ROM or mods, you just won’t be able to get them. Every other amazing app and game will still be there for you to download!

What will happen to all current custom ROMs?

Every download link will be removed, but the threads will remain in there for discussion about how good/bad they are/were.

Our Vision

When Google was first being founded, their ambitions were big – so big that their very name is inspired by the humongous “googol” number. Google’s ultimate ambition, then, is to reach a googol Android users, and to do this they must keep Android going forward. By concentrating XDA’s development prowess directly at Google’s software division, Android’s future accomplishments can only be dreamed of. And by debilitating Cyanogen’s Google-free (and rather unfree and full of other closed source services) Android and strengthening Play Services and Google Apps, the technological future we all want for our lives will come before we know it.

This marks an exciting day for the XDA community. A lot more is coming soon including big changes to the website’s appearance, but for now let’s aim to bring Google all of our code so that Android lives on!

 

*XDA members will have access to new Android versions 2 business days before they officially published and roll out for everyone else
**Developers will be rewarded with Play Store credit. Rewards not guaranteed.

The post Google to Acquire XDA, Dev Rewards & Policy Changes appeared first on xda-developers.

Cell Phone Unlocking Bill – Expert Analysis of Why it Sucks

Posted by egzthunder1 February - 25 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

bill-murray-you-suck

We all remember the story on this one. It was our moment of triumph. The moment our collective voices were heard across the Capitol, which yielded a law nearly 2 years later. The glorious Cell Phone Unlocking Bill, finally came into full force in the beginning of February. As of now, it is perfectly legal to have your device SIM unlocked anywhere in the United States (that is, until the provision expires yet again towards the end of this year). There are so many things that went wrong into the creation of the current “patch” that it is difficult to pin point a place to start. Having said that, we will start with the obvious, which is what they should have done.

As you are likely aware, the provision that protects the right to unlock our devices is part of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act). This was included in here due to it being believed that unlocking the SIM in a device would amount to violating IP rights on the software used to lock it in the first place. This was the reasoning used a few years ago to remove said exemption by the Librarian of Congress. Our compounded efforts ended up placing the exemption back in there. Why am I pointing this as a mistake? Because it should have not gone back in as part of the DMCA to begin with. This was the first step towards modernizing the laws in the United States and getting them adapted for the 21st century, which we have been part of for the last 15 years. The better course of action would have been to set it as a separate law, away from intellectual property jargon which has nothing to do with any of this, and properly set it as a stand alone law, away from the influence of people completely unqualified to judge the need (or lack thereof) for such a law. Surely, one can add provisions that are set to expire for many things, but why is there a need to set one up on being allowed to use personal, legally purchased goods, in any manner that we see fit (so as long as we are not breaking other laws, of course)?

Now, lets focus on the matter at hand. We have a “bill”, which is in full force. The bill basically is aimed at doing 3 things right now:

  1. Allows consumers to legally unlock the SIM card on their devices, thus allowing them to jump carriers while taking their devices with them;
  2. Makes the use of 3rd party software to achieve unlocking perfectly legal. Hooray! You no longer need to feel like you are looking to buy illegal drugs whenever you are going to unlock a phone;
  3. Forces the carriers to cooperate with you towards unlocking your devices.

 
Point #3 is the sticking point of this entire article. CTIA, which is an entity that is nothing but a special interest group (aka lobbyist) consisting of most carriers as well as a few handset manufacturers, put a metric ton of pressure while the crafting of the bill was taking place. The result is that even they had to do a few concessions in order to be able to have any say in the making of this bill. To be more precise, once the law went into full effect at the start of February, the carriers were supposed to take certain steps that would aid their consumers in the unlocking of their devices. Many of the carriers must have thought the law was fiction or some figment of their imagination because only one of them has done something to address everything in their to-do list, and that was Verizon (and it was forced due to them buying block C last year, which basically forced them to have every device on their network unlocked). The other 3 major US carriers lack in certain areas. Sina Khanifar, who was one of the major organizers of the original push for the legalization of SIM Unlocking, has written a blog article with a very detailed description of how each carrier fell short of the expectations. The following is a chart he made to summarize his findings

SIM Unlocking Chart

The scores are somewhat deceptive for Verizon and not really all that surprising for Sprint. For instance, (and I will take Sprint as I have a major pet peeve with their unlocking system due to personal experience), Sprint’s take on this entire thing is comical at best. While I am not going to bother in pasting the unintelligible dribble that is their unlocking policy into this post, I will condense it to the following:

  1. If the device you have is CDMA, there is no SIM unlocking due to a technological difference between CDMA and GSM;
  2. If your device is equipped with a SIM slot (namely any phone that has LTE), they will only unlock it for “international travel”, which means that they only unlock any bands that are not used in the US, despite the device having the bands required to work on other carriers;
  3. When an unlock is requested, they will go about giving you the “MSL”, which stands for Master Subsidy Lock. For those of you familiar with CDMA programming, the name might sounds familiar. For those of you who aren’t, the MSL is a code that unlocks the programming portion of the device. This allows carriers to push OTA programming to the device to set the carrier settings on the NV partition. Things like your phone number and your subscriber number get stored there. Now, you are likely asking yourselves why is this required for SIM unlocking the phone? The answer is, it isn’t. They simply will not unlock the SIM portion for domestic use;

 
Now, after the beginning of February, you’d expect that the aforementioned would be out the window, right? Well, it kinda is… but only for devices that have come out AFTER beginning of February of this year. In other words, if you jumped onto that shinny iPhone 6 Plus – 128 GB edition back in September, congratulations! The moment you decide to try and take it to a different carrier, you will be sporting a brand new device to match your iPod 6 Plus – 128 GB edition, as you will be unable to use it outside of Sprint (as they will not unlock it). Same goes for all you Nexus 6, G3, S5 adopters. Needless to say, most of these devices can be unlocked via other means (thankfully) but the point still stands. The carrier still has the upper hand and has far too much power when it comes to letting you unlock it, regardless of whether you have paid off your contract/balance on your device. Oh, and good luck trying to put an outside phone in Sprint’s network.

Each one of the major carriers has a different thing that makes you want to smash your face against the keyboard though. It is truly uncertain what will happen later this year when the provision expires yet again. However, we ask that you write to your Congressmen and let them know that the fight for your cellular freedom is not over and that you as a consumer have a right to do as you please with things that you legally purchased. We still have about 75 years left before the turn of the century. Who knows? We might get it right sometime…

You can find the rest of the blog article by following this link.

We’d like to give a big shout to Sina Khanifar. Keep on fighting the good fight!

The post Cell Phone Unlocking Bill – Expert Analysis of Why it Sucks appeared first on xda-developers.

Here’s a neat trick which lets you capture 50MP photos from your OnePlus One

Posted by wicked February - 17 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

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The OnePlus One is a pretty stellar device for the cost that it’s available for. And a new camera mod lets users get even more out of the device with minimal work. Thanks to a bunch of keen developers over at the XDA Forums, the OnePlus One can now take 50-megapixel photos using image interpolation tech.

This was debuted in the Oppo Find 7 and Find 7a, so it’s a feature from Oppo’s proprietary Color OS ROM. These developers have simply ported the app to work with CyanogenMod 11S, thus making it compatible with the OnePlus One.

In addition to offering 50-megapixel photos, the camera app also comes with features like HDR video recording, slow-mo video, burst shot and a lot more. So if you own a OnePlus One and would like to get more out of your smartphone’s camera, head over to the link below for more details.

Source: XDA
Via: Phone Arena

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Root achieved for Sony Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact with locked bootloader

Posted by wicked January - 25 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

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Owners of Sony Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact Android handsets that have a locked bootloader, it is your lucky day. At least, it is if you’ve been hoping to root your device.

A clever dev over at the XDA-Forums has scored himself a touch of bounty for working out the xploit. Sorry… exploit. The method is not intended for the international Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact devices, which come with unlockable bootloaders, and are rather easily tinkered with by the AOSP and ROM enthusiasts. Nor is it for the Verizon variants with modified hardware. Instead, the exploit is for markets like the U.S. where carriers tend to lock things down.

Let’s not beat around the bush here, with Android Lollipop set to release for Sony hardware soon, You are likely better off waiting for the OTA before rooting. Also, this is not an easy process. Right off the bat, up to date firmware is not compatible, so you’ll need to first roll back to version 23.0.1.A.5.77. From there, it is a matter of simply creating a pre-rooted version of the phone’s hardware, flash a recovery image for your model, then apply the root exploit itself.

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XDA user zxz0O0 is who you have to thank for bringing root to your locked Sony Xperia Z3 or Xperia Z3 Compact. He’s been known to bring exploit and similar tools to the forums and will take home at least a part of the current $3017 bounty available for breaking the lock on Sony gear.

Head on over to the XDA post on the matter to get all the resources and instructions to root your Sony Xperia Z3 and Xperia Z3 Compact handsets.

Will you go for root on your Xperia Z3 or Xperia Z3 Compact?

Screen Mode app takes new angle on accessing your smartphone screen

Posted by wicked January - 15 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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One of the bigger annoyances all smartphone users deal with is getting access to the screen as quickly and easily as possible. Possibly in a perfect world, we might all leave our screens on all the time so a mere glance would reveal all we expect to see. In the real world though, that would lead to some very short periods of time in between battery charging. So, a variety of measures have been enacted to turn our screens off and only show limited notifications in an effort conserve battery life. However, that also means going through the trouble of turning a device back on to use it. The new Screen Mode app from XDA Senior Member Meko07 hopes to address this situation.

To help ease the process of turning a smartphone screen back on, device manufacturers have looked for a variety of innovative methods. LG has their Knock On system that just requires a couple taps of the screen and Motorola implemented methods so a wave of the hand will turn on a screen. Meko07 decided to use a different tactic though, relying on a smartphone’s sensors to detect the angle of the device and turning the screen on based on that. In addition to unlocking and locking the screen based on the angle, the app also adjusts the screen’s brightness.

This could be a good solution for owners of devices that do not have a quick way to unlock their screen or just want an easier way to adjust the brightness. The Screen Mode app is free, so if you want to give it a try, just hit the Play Store links below.

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Google Play Download Link

 

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[New App] Wear GoPro Remote lets you control your GoPro with your smartwatch

Posted by wicked January - 15 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

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Are you an adventure enthusiast or simply have a GoPro device at your disposal? You will be pleased to know that you can now control this nifty gadget right from your wrist using the Wear GoPro Remote app for Android Wear.

The app doesn’t seem to be available on the Google Play Store, so you will have to download the apk directly from XDA. It allows deep controls for users including the ability to turn on the GoPro device, change camera mode, frame rate or even locate the GoPro device if it goes missing.

Here are some of the essential features listed out by the developer:

  • Change camera mode (Video, Photo, Burst, Time lapse)
  • Change video resolution and frame rate.a
  • Change Time lapse interval.
  • Fire shutter to take pictures, start/stop video and see a small preview of the picture taken.
  • Fire shutter by shaking your hand (Great for selfies).
  • Image gallery to browse images on Camera.
  • Set basic settings like Spot Meter, Beep volume, Upside down, LEDs.
  • Locate camera.
  • Power off/on camera.

Click here to view the embedded video.

This is a relatively new app, so the developer urges users to pass on feedback about any glitches or errors that needs fixing. We’re keeping our fingers crossed to have this app hit the Play Store soon and we don’t think we’ll have to wait much longer. You can download the Wear GoPro Remote for your Android Wear device here.

Via: XDA Forums

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XDA LG Development Challenge Winners

Posted by wicked December - 28 - 2014 - Sunday Comments Off

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Almost 3 months ago, we set out with LG to find two amazing apps that developers could put together using LG’s QPair SDK. That contest came to a close last Friday, and while there were some really great entries that took the QPair SDK and stretched it to its limits, the two winners for the Grand Prize have been selected as explained in the Contest Rules.

The XDA LG Developer Challenge was a 8-week competition, and each person had the opportunity to pitch their proposal for the best app and bring it to life with a LG device of their own. Of the 10 proposals that we selected for the second phase, the developers of the best two apps have been selected and they will both receive a LG G Watch R to to further their development opportunities!

There were a lot of really great entries to the second phase of the competition, and all of them deserve a quick download! Check out the complete list of apps and watch faces that were made during the competition.

Without further ado, here are the winners of the XDA LG Developer Challenge (in no particular order):

We and LG thank each and every one of the entrants, and hope that they will continue to be involved and create new and exciting applications with the LG QPair SDK and for Android devices in general.

The post XDA LG Development Challenge Winners appeared first on xda-developers.